In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

278 JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY 31:2 APRIL 1993 of these was Parmenides is a strong possibility.) Schiappa takes the line that "it is doubtful that Protagoras would have used the exact language portrayed by Plato" 035), but he does not venture to suggest what words Protagoras might have used instead, and he is quite definite in pointing out the undeniable incompatibility of 0uk estin antilegein with the human-measure and two-logoi fragments. The best he can do is to shift his attention to the defense recounted by Plato in the Euthydemm, which he thinks may have been somewhat different, that is, more Protagorean. My own intuition is that in the Euthydemus passage Plato is engaging in a characteristic piece of seriocomic philosophic mischief, on a par with the attribution of neo-Eleatic arguments to the Heraclitean-Protagorean Cratylus at, for instance, Cratylus 4~9D. In other words, Plato sees (and makes clear at Cratylus 386A-E), that for philosophical results there is nothing to choose between Protagorean relativism and Euthydemian (i.e., Parmenidean) denial of contradiction and false speaking, since both positions issue in the denial of distinctions between wisdom and folly, virtue and vice. Thus, in Plato's view, although Protagoras would not have accepted 0uk estin antilegein, he might just as well havel Schiappa remarks later that Plato's (and Aristotle's) main objections to Protagoras' doctrines were "that his human-measure statement refuted itself and that it violated the law of non-contradiction" (x9o). Surely this is to miss Plato's moral objection to Protagoras; it should be noted that in Laws IV he resoundingly proclaims that God is the measure of all things (716C). On the other hand, Schiappa does give full weight to the support given by the human-measure fragment to Periclean democracy, and to the ethical implications of the Great Speech of Protagoras 3zoC-328D. (The speech is taken to be if not Protagoras' ipsissimaverba, at least his ipsissimapraecepta.) In most respects the book is quite user-friendly (Schiappa has an admirable habit of summarizing his important points at intervals), hut it lacks a precise index of passages, and the notes are much too inclined to refer to secondary rather than to primary sources. In seeking documentation for Schiappa's statement that "Plato's creative use of language is well-established, as is his need to invent a proper 'philosophical' vocabulary " (44), I wanted to be directed to Plato, not to Havelock, for instance. The reader suffers far too many disappointments of this kind. As Schiappa himself would probably be the first to admit, his book should prove more of a stimulus to further work, both on Protagoras and on other individual sophists, than a definitive study. Others should now take up his challenge. ROSAMOND KENT SPRAGUE University of South Carolina Michael J. Loux. Primary Ousia: An Essay on Aristotle's "Metaphysics" Z and H. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1991, Pp. xii + 285. $39.95. Michael Loux presents an admirably clear and sophisticated account of Aristotle's later theory of ous/a (often translated "substance") in Metaphysics Z and H. He sets up a framework for this discussion by spelling out the early theory in the Categories. BOOK REVIEWS 279 The Categories treats concrete particulars, such as a man or a horse, as primary ousiai, because they are ultimate subjects. All other entities, both the nonsubstantial properties predicated of them and the kinds they instantiate, depend on the basic entities for their existence. Loux claims that the Categories also endorses a kind of essentialism. The concept of a primary 0us/a is given by the universal (infima species)that marks it out as what it is. To be for the particular consists in being an instance of that species. These two themes, that the ontologically basic entities are ultimate subjects and that they are instances of their.infima species, together yield a third theme that Loux takes to be crucial to Aristotle's early doctrine. He calls this the Unanalyzability Thesis: a primary ous/a's falling under its infima species is an irreducible fact about it, which is not susceptible to further ontological analysis. Given this set of...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 278-280
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.